MOSCOW/PARIS

The presidents of Russia and France discussed over the phone on Monday allegations that Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny had been poisoned.

In his talk with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin stressed “the inappropriateness of unfounded allegations,” the Kremlin said in an online statement following the meeting.

“To establish the real circumstances of the incident, German specialists must send to Russia the biomaterials and an official statement on the test results of the samples collected from Alexei Navalny, and must start working together with Russian doctors,” the statement said.

The two presidents agreed to work out the parameters of possible interaction between Russia and the EU on the incident, it added.

Navalny, 44 and a critic of Putin, fell ill on Aug. 20 on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow. The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk and Navalny was rushed to a hospital where he spent two days before being sent to Berlin for treatment.

Last week Steffen Seibert, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, said Berlin would notify the EU and NATO, as well as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), about it finding “a chemical nerve agent” in Navalny’s tests to work out a common position.

On Tuesday, the foreign ministers of the G7 member countries called on Russia to find and bring to justice the perpetrators of Navalny’s alleged poisoning.

For his part, Macron asked Putin for full and undelayed transparency on the “assassination attempt” on Navalny, according to a statement from the French presidency.

The statement said Macron voiced support for other European countries on the “facts of poisoning using a Novichok nerve agent,” underlining that a clarification is necessary on the part of Russia as part of a “credible and transparent investigation.”

On Monday, a French and a Swiss laboratory announced the results of tests they had carried out on Navalny, concluding that he was poisoned with a Novichok-type agent. German doctors reportedly found traces of the agent in Navalny’s system.

– Belarus, Ukraine, Libya

On recent protests in Belarus following accusations of election fraud in President Alexander Lukashenko, Putin and Macron said they were in favor of a peaceful resolution the current turbulence, said the Russian statement.

Putin reiterated Russia’s objection to “any attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Belarus and external pressure on the legitimate authorities.”

Protests broke out after Lukashenko was declared the winner in the Aug. 9 presidential elections. Opposition candidates, however, accused the administration of rigging the vote.

Pivoting south, both Putin and Macron voiced concern over a lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreement, drafted to reconcile the Ukrainian government and rebels in eastern part of the country.

The Minsk Agreement, signed in 2015 by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany and overseen by the OSCE, was drafted to stop hostilities in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev blames the Kremlin for separatist violence in Donbass, in the country’s east, near its border with Russia, which has claimed some 13,000 lives.

As for the conflict in the North African country of Libya between the internationally recognized government and warlord Khalifa Haftar, the presidents noted the importance of continuing joint efforts to implement the decisions of the Berlin conference adopted in January 2020 and formalized in UN Security Council Resolution 2510.

Since last September, several high-level meetings were held in the German capital — known as the Berlin peace process — to put an end to the Libyan conflict, with the participation of France, Italy, Germany, and the UK.

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